Hot Club of Cowtown Coming to CALS - Arkansas Free Press
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Hot Club of Cowtown Coming to CALS PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tameka Lee   

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas Sounds, a project of the Central Arkansas Library System's (CALS) Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, is bringing Western swing-gypsy jazz to Little Rock with Hot Club of Cowtown at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 29, at CALS Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave. Tickets are $20 and are available at

Since its beginnings in the late 1990s, the Hot Club of Cowtown's star has continued to rise as its reputation for jaw-dropping virtuosity and unforgettable live shows has become the band's global brand. Lauded for its "down-home melodies and exuberant improvisation" (The Times, London), the Hot Club has woven a combination of seemingly disparate styles together to its own magical effect, setting up camp "at that crossroads where country meets jazz and chases the blues away" (The Independent).

Band members Elana James, Whit Smith, and Jake Erwin travel the world with their brand of gypsy-jazz inspired by the music of Django Reinhardt, which accounts for the "Hot Club" portion of their name. Their style is also infused with the hoedowns, traditional tunes, and Western swing-inspired music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, represented in the "Cowtown" of their name.

The band has a long list of accomplishments since their first album, Swingin' Stampede, was released in 1998 on HighTone records. They have released nine studio albums, and they are among the youngest members ever to have been inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame. The band has also represented the U.S. State Department as Musical Ambassadors over the past several years traveling to Azerbaijan, Algeria, Armenia, and the Republic of Georgia.

In 2004, the Hot Club of Cowtown gained a special fan in Bob Dylan when they were invited to open a month-long tour of minor league ballparks with Dylan and Willie Nelson. Following the tour, James was hired to play a brief stint in Dylan's touring band-the first dedicated female instrumentalist to join his road band since Scarlet Rivera some 30 years before. In 2015, Hot Club of Cowtown was named Western Swing Group at the Ameripolitan Music Awards. That same year James won for Western Swing Female.
For more information about Arkansas Sounds, email or call 501.320.5728.

About CALS
The Central Arkansas Library System consists of 14 libraries located in the city of Little Rock (Main Library and eight branches), Pulaski County (Wrightsville, Jacksonville, Sherwood, and Maumelle), and Perry County (Perryville). CALS facilities on the Main Library campus include Ron Robinson Theater, the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, and the Cox Creative Center. The system contains more than one million items and has the largest research collection in central Arkansas.

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